The Wichita Falls Wildcats have announced that Paul Baxter has been named the team's new head coach, general manager of hockey operations and partner effective May 1. Baxter previously held the same titles with the Wenatchee Wild from 2008-10.
Baxter is a 13-year veteran of professional hockey as a player, having appeared in 762 games in the NHL and World Hockey Association with five teams, including the Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames.
Though he was often known for a rough-and-tumble style of play as one of only three NHL players to total 400 penalty minutes in a season, he also was an excellent puck-moving defenseman with a pair of 10-goal seasons to his credit. Baxter is also an "Honoured Member" of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
During his coaching career, Baxter has held the reins as head coach of the International Hockey League's Salt Lake Golden Eagles, American Hockey League's Saint John Flames and HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish SM-liiga in addition to his time in Wenatchee.
With the Wild, he guided the team to two Robertson Cup Championship Tournaments and an appearance in the championship game in Wenatchee's first season. Baxter also has been an assistant coach in the NHL with four organizations.
Baxter replaces Mark LeRose behind the Wildcats' bench after LeRose's contract was not renewed at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season.